I’M Back A Lot To Do And Little Time To Do It Survival 13, Saturday November 30, 2013

For those that are not aware ? I have spent majority  of August in the hospital. What started out as a infection in my foot, ended up almost costing me my life, when computations’ from some virus in the hospital set in,   they thought I wouldn’t be leaving the hospital.  I guess the good lord isn’t done with me yet. And with that said, it’s time I get busy preparing for the  Survival 13 event, which will happen on Saturday November 13. I’m still weak from my hospital stay but I’ve really got to get busy trying to raze funds to do the event, If you would like to help us please make a tax free donation to care of poor people it would surely help us to do the event. Also take a look at our web site at the materials we need and don’t forget we can use your bodies to do the work of taking care of those hurting in our community. I’ll start posting stories on our site very shortly

Richard G Tripp director Care Of Poor People

5 days to leave

On any given summer night, about 30 people sleep in one of several camps below a labyrinthine intersection of highways on the North Shore.

Some of them call it home.

But on Tuesday, state and city officials told the population of homeless people who live there they have five days to clear out their belongings and find a new place to live.

“There’s been a problem with homeless encampments around the city,” said Rob Kaczorowski, the city’s public works director, citing health and safety concerns about groups living in close quarters without proper sanitation.

He said the city clears about 12 camps each year and rarely meets much resistance.

The request to fence off this particular homeless camp came from the state, which owns the property underneath the overpasses and plans to set up fences to keep people out, according to PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan. He said increased instances of fires under the bridges and construction are reasons to clear the scattered camps around Anderson Street and under Interstate 579.

About a dozen tents, a charcoal grill and scattered tables and chairs mark the living spaces.

A handful of no-trespassing signs adorn the massive concrete supports that protrude through the small tent city, but the police almost never give anyone a hard time, according to several people who live there.

Tuesday’s announcement generated mixed reactions from homeless advocates, social service workers and residents of the encampment.

Several homeless people were upset they weren’t given a chance to respond to the announcement and said there wasn’t a plan to move them somewhere else.

Jim Withers, who practices “street medicine” and has worked with homeless populations in Pittsburgh for decades, said the decision to close the camp doesn’t bother him.

“I’m kind of relieved something is being done,” Dr. Withers said. “Frankly, that camp is one of the largest I’ve seen in 21 years, and we’re often afraid to go into it. We’ve seen people with guns, obvious drug deals going on.”

In 1992, he founded Operation Safety Net, an organization that provides health care to those without shelter as part of the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System.

He chalks the increase he’s seen in the homeless population up to the sagging economy.

Veterans, people with mental health issues and those who have experienced domestic violence are all more vulnerable in tough economic times, Dr. Withers said.

Dennis Burns, a 50-year-old resident of the encampment who has been homeless for three years, acknowledged there are pockets of the tent city plagued by litter and crime.

But he said the people who cause problems are in the minority and those who live in the tents surrounding him are decent people who don’t deserve to be kicked out.

“We’re doing the best we can do,” Mr. Burns said. “We’re not belligerent people.”

A couple of orange cones marked “Burns” demarcate several square feet in front of his tents, which has carpeting, chairs, a small TV and toaster — all powered by a little generator that sits in the shoulder of the HOV onramp near Anderson Street.

The basic elements of Mr. Burns’ life — eating, sleeping, talking with his friends — are just a few feet from the near constant stream of cars that go zooming by.

“I’m not proud to be sitting here, but I will survive,” he said.

Increased development in the North Shore area has prompted citizen complaints and pressure to do something about the sight of the encampment, according Breanna Jay, coordinator for Operation Save-A-Life, an outreach program targeted at homeless populations in the North Side and South Side.

“It’s always been a safe spot for people,” Ms. Jay said. “It was just an issue of nobody really wanted them there, but no one wanted to take responsibility.”

Ms. Jay is sympathetic to PennDOT’s rationale for clearing the camp but worries that the North Side homeless population will disperse and become harder to serve.

“I can understand their concern. It’s not like it’s public property. The bigger issue is: How is it that we can’t figure out a better way to get people rapidly off the street?”

 

Alex Zimmerman: azimmerman@post-gazette.com, 412-263-3909 or on Twitter @AGZimmerman. First Published July 3, 2013 12:00 am

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Miami Dumping homeless

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“I observed a Coral Gables police car letting out a person who was very clearly homeless,” said Solowsky, who works in Sarnoff’s law firmand serves as a pro bono attorney for the DDA. “I’ve seen similar situations, but I didn’t take note of which municipality was involved.”

Coral Gables police, however, deny the claim.

“It’s neither our policy nor our practice to relocate homeless people to other jurisdictions,” said Officer Dean Wellinghoff, a department spokesman. “Typically, we’ll get calls regarding a homeless person blocking the entrance to a business. We’ll just ask that person to move on.”

Aventura Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Goranitis denied similar allegations directed at his department.

“This is completely false and not practical,” Goranitis told the Miami Herald. “There would be absolutely no reason to travel several miles to the city of Miami when there is a homeless shelter minutes from our city located at 1203 N. Federal Hwy. in Hollywood.”

Both departments, as well as the Surfside Police Department, say they have a relatively small homeless population. Outside of Miami city limits, only 124 people live on the streets north of Kendall Drive, according to the latest census from the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust. Another 66 live south of Kendall Drive.

The second largest concentration of unsheltered homeless people is on Miami Beach: 138 as of the Homeless Trust’s January count.

Beach police spokesman Sgt. Bobby Hernandez said his department may have brought people across the causeway to Miami two decades ago, but doesn’t do that now. The department follows the same rules that Miami does, he said, even though there is no court order requiring the Beach to give wide berth to homeless people. And an officer is on the city’s homeless outreach team, along with several social servicesprofessionals.

“We are not dumping anyone in downtown Miami,” Hernandez said. “That’s just not true. What we have done is designate an officer to locate, identify and assist every single homeless person that we have in Miami Beach.”

Last week, Llamoca found a woman named Jennifer sprawled out on a green bath towel by the corner of 10th Street and Ocean Drive. Jennifer refused to go to a shelter that night, saying she preferred to sleep outdoors. But she promised to visit the homeless outreach team office the next morning.

Llamoca knelt on the ground and looked Jennifer in the eye. “I’m not going to give up on you,” he said.

Two blocks north, Llamoca struck up a conversation with Shawn Patrick Collins.

Collins, who has been homeless “on and off” for 15 years, said Hollywood officers had once dropped him off at the county line instead of arresting him. But he had never heard of Miami Beach police doing anything like that, he said.

Some police departments like Miami Beach do bring people to homeless shelters in Miami city limits. Beach police officers brought 20 people to Camillus House in 2011, according to data collected by the shelter. The Aventura, Miami Shores and Hialeah police departments brought four, six and 15 people, respectively.

Fernandez, the executive director of the Homeless Trust, said homeless people also wind up downtown because of the indigent healthcare services offered at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

What’s more, Miami-Dade corrections officials used to release all inmates from the downtown jail at 1321 NW 13th St. As of last month, however, most releases are being done at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, 7000 NW 41st St.

County leaders have spent several years working to combat what they call “institutional homelessness.” In 2008, a dozen healthcare, corrections and social service agencies signed an agreement with the Homeless Trust to help the homeless being discharged from their facilities. That agreement will likely be renewed this year.

“We don’t want institutions creating homelessness,” Fernandez said.

But Sarnoff says that isn’t enough, and is pushing for dramatic changes, including revisions to the Pottinger agreement. He would like to give Miami police the power to arrest homeless people for some minor offenses, including possibly for repeatedly refusing help.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/30/3479202_p2/other-miami-dade-cities-deny-dumping.html#storylink=cpy

Miami dumping homeless

When Miami Beach police officer Ysidro Llamoca encountered Jamie McNeil — shirtless, shoeless, unshaven and scruffy — the beach dweller was preparing to sleep again on the sand dunes of Lummus Park.

Instead of hassling the homeless man, Llamoca offered to help. Fifteen minutes later, McNeil, 34, was in a white van operated by the city’s homeless outreach team, headed for shelter at the Homeless Assistance Center in Miami.

The treatment last week was a far cry from the claim that Miami Beach officers ferry their homeless people across the MacArthur Causeway and deposit them on downtown Miami streets. That assertion has been repeated by Miami Commission Chairman Marc Sarnoff as part of his recent quest to banish homeless people from the struggling downtown business district.

“We’ve caught Miami Beach dumping people in the city [of Miami],” Sarnoff recently told the Miami Herald, accusing Aventura, Surfside and Coral Gables police of the same practice. “Downtown Miami has become the dumping ground for Miami-Dade’s homeless.”

But the cities he cited deny the claim. And while advocates for the homeless have long heard rumors about the practice, they say there is no evidence to support it.

“I’ve never seen it or received any actual reports of it happening,” said Hilda Fernandez, executive director of the county’s Homeless Trust.

The more likely reason that so many homeless people congregate in Miami, Fernandez said, is that Jackson Memorial Hospital, the county courthouse and several crisis intervention centers are all located downtown. Downtown Miami also has a Greyhound station. The modestly priced bus service draws homeless people traveling to and from Miami.

The Homeless Trust is scheduled to meet Monday to discuss, among other things, a proposal to fund more shelter beds in downtown and to finalize its budget.

Claims of homeless dumping aren’t new. In arguing the need to ban street feedings in 2004, former city manager Joe Arriola complained that Miami had long been a dumping ground for the region’s homeless.

The debate found new life in April, when the city commission decided to petition a judge for changes to a landmark 1998 legal settlement known as Pottinger v. Miami. The agreement prohibits Miami police for arresting homeless people for minor offenses without first offering them a bed in homeless shelter.

Sarnoff, who also chairs the Downtown Development Authority, argues that the strict parameters of Pottinger have prevented city leaders from removing the 500 or so homeless people from Miami’s streets. Most local shelters are at capacity, meaning police can do little to punish the homeless who urinate in the street or light cooking fires in public parks.

Sarnoff pointed out that other municipalities aren’t subject to the same rules, and said they sometimes resort to escorting their homeless residents to Miami. That claim, he said, is based on anecdotes he has head from Miami police officers and several of his downtown constituents.

Miami Police spokesman Napier Velazquez said the department has “no documentation” of other municipalities releasing homeless people on the streets of Miami. The anecdotes, however, include a first-person account from attorney Jay Solowsky, who said he saw a Coral Gables police officer drop off a homeless person near 150 W. Flagler St. late one night in 2009.

Working on homeless problems ?

Hayward tackles homelessness problem

HAYWARD — The city is stepping up its efforts to deal with the homeless and illegal activity downtown, including a plan to regulate outdoor food giveaways and an ordinance that would hold landlords responsible for tenants’ behavior.

“We have a significant homeless population in Hayward,” Lt. Mark Koller told a small group of merchants at a regular monthly meeting Thursday at City Hall. “This is a priority for the city.”

Portuguese Park at Foothill Boulevard and D Street has especially become a magnet for informal distribution of outdoor free meals.

“We have people who come here from other communities to feed the poor,” said David Korth, city neighborhood services manager. Many are not associated with a particular church or nonprofit group, but want to help others, he said. Not everyone accepting food is homeless.

The city is working on an ordinance to regulate the food distribution and hopes to bring it before the council this fall, City Attorney Michael Lawson said after the meeting.

“We’re looking at the best way to regulate it that balances the need for food for people who might be homeless and the quality of life for businesses and residents,” he said. Any regulation would have to recognize the constitutional rights of those giving away food, he said.

The city has done quite a bit of outreach with the homeless and organizations who advocate on their behalf, he said.

“The goal is to better organize distribution

of food for those who need it, whether it’s by organizations or other people,” Lawson said. “Clearly, their efforts are well-intentioned, but it still results in conditions that are difficult for businesses and residents.”

There have been problems with vandalism and people littering and relieving themselves in alcoves and other property near feeding sites, Korth said.

“We’ve been working on the homeless problem for years,” he said. One thing that would help is a centralized location that could provide housing and other services, but there’s the question of funding and where it would be located. “Wherever we decide, we’re bound to run into opposition,” Korth said.

The city also is in the early stages of drawing up a social nuisance ordinance, Lawson said. Landlords could be held responsible for tenants’ nuisance behavior, such as using or distributing drugs. But he emphasized the focus would be on educating landlords and helping them with lease agreements to regulate any behavior.

Hayward’s downtown Green Shutter Hotel has been a long-standing problem, said Stacey Bristow, city neighborhood partnership manager. Her department has been working with police and firefighters, enforcing safety codes to clean up the residential hotel at B and Main streets. Alameda County Vector Control also has been addressing pest problems, and conditions have improved at the hotel, she said.

Contrary to general belief, social service agencies are not giving clients vouchers to stay at the Green Shutter, Bristow said. The hotel has very few residents on probation, said Koller, and police keep a close watch on the building.

Police also patrol sites the homeless frequent: the old Mervyn’s headquarters on Foothill Boulevard, and the closed 11-story former City Hall also on Foothill and San Lorenzo Creek. But police have to give three days notice before clearing an encampment, Koller said, noting homelessness itself is not a crime.

“We are chipping away at the problem,” Korth said.

Real Life

The young boy was screaming out words from his mother’s lap. She was trying to calm him but she herself wasn’t doing so good either. The volume of his wailing and the smallness of the shelter’s office made my voice and the questions I was asking melt into the cacophony.

“What’s he saying?” I said, hoping we could move on but also with an edge of impatience. “He’s saying, he wants to go home,” said Sara, his mother. “So do I,” she added, quietly.

I thought of the noise, the baking summer heat, the flies buzzing, my frustration, and then, as I was trained to do, I returned my attention to Sara, her son and their lives.

“Who do you serve?” an acquaintance from an earlier time in my life would ask of recruits she had mustered to help run a substance abuse recovery program in the local jail. The answers Lois received from us were full of hope and expansive idealism.

“I serve the neighborhood,” said a Mr. Abdullah. “I serve all of God’s children,” Father Schopfer could state with unequivocal love. “I serve the sinner,” said Mr. Lostumbo. The Jesuit novices said something complex and intellectual. Christ, Allah, the Virgin Mother, liberation theology and social justice were also very popular. But, in the end, we were all wrong.

“You are here to serve one person,” Lois Benevento would remind us. “And that is the person in need who has been placed before you.” I would be assigned to a single inmate who would be my sole focus.

It was clear, this was not about me. I was not there to serve my goals. I was not there to advance my agenda. I was not there to tell but to be told. I was there to learn and my first lesson was to be humbled by all that can and often does go wrong in a person’s life.

Then, one person at a time, we changed their worlds.

In all my years of work, I’ve never run into a homeless person who would rather live on the street than in an apartment; I’ve never met a soul who would rather live in the woods than in a house or who would confuse a hut with a home. Nevertheless, slumped bodies inhabit downtown doorways, and tarps tied to ragged tents dot the local woods.

Why is this? The answer is simple: We only help people who conform to our service model. Which means that our service model might not really be about those who are homeless but more about us. And that’s not a criticism, just something to consider.

As a community, we need to do some thinking about a few basic ideas, such as: does isolating the homeless on the edge of town or in encampments in the woods help people who are wracked by abandonment issues, self-loathing and despair? Is it ever wise to mix the short-term homeless population with those who are chronically homeless, a much different population beset by mental illness, addiction and a history of poor decision-making?

Do we moralize to the least of our brethren or attach pragmatism to realism and allocate funds to adopt strategies that enjoy nationwide success? Is there anything wrong with saving money, saving lives, improving downtown and making our woods safer — all the while aiding those whose cries would otherwise go unheard?

Rapid-rehousing programs, such as Sidewalk, actually put money back into the business community by connecting their clients with privately owned available low-cost rental units. That’s taxpayer-generated money going back into the hardworking community that created it.

SideWalk does it for a fraction of the cost of traditional programming with successful outcomes 96 percent of the time.

Housing First (Permanent Supportive Housing) programs, such as 1811 Eastlake in Seattle, save taxpayers millions while improving the recovery and rebuilding the dignity of formally chronically homeless men. This program is successful 87 percent of the time.

Serving those who are homeless might not be your calling, but how they receive publicly funded service is, in part, your decision as a voting citizen. If you or one of yours was out on the street, how would you want to be helped?

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/06/24/3065509/we-should-serve-those-in-need.html#storylink=cpy